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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1587

Exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka opposed

Chennai, 21 May, (

MDMK leader Vaiko on Saturday criticised India's decision to lend 'Kapilavastu relics' (fragments of Buddha's bones) to Sri Lanka for an exposition and said the move was an "unpardonable betrayal" of Indian Government against the Tamils.

Citing the alleged killing of ethnic Tamils during the war against LTTE in Sri Lanka, Vaiko, in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said the decision was "pouring fire in the terribly wounded hearts of the Tamils".

Earlier an Agreement was signed on 18 May between India and Sri Lanka regarding the organization of an exposition of the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka from 20 August to 5 September, 2012.

The Agreement was signed in Colombo today by Mr. H.P. Cashian Herath, Secretary, Ministry of Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs, Sri Lanka and Mr. Pravin Srivastava, Director General, National Museum, India in presence of Mr. A.D.S. Gunawardena, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Buddhasasana And Religious Affairs and Mr. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India.

The Exposition is being organized in Sri Lanka at the request made by the President of Sri Lanka to the Prime Minister of India to provide an opportunity to the followers of Buddhism in Sri Lanka to pay homage to the Kapilavastu Relics.

The Agreement lays down the necessary arrangements to be made by the Government of Sri Lanka for the exposition of Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka as per the following schedule:



Venue of Exposition

20-22 August 2012


Kapilawasthu Hall Manel Watta Maha Viharaya, Kelaniya             

23-24 August 2012

North Western

Sri Sumangala Pirivena, Wariyapola

25-26 August 2012

North Central

Jayanthi Viharaya, Anuradhapura

27-28 August 2012


Agrabodhi Viharaya, Kantale

29-30 August 2012


Naranvita Temple, Gampola

31 August -01 September 2012


Rajamaha Viharaya, Pelmadulla

02- 04 September 2012


Matara Kotikagoda Rajamaha Viharaya, Matara

It would be for the second time since their discovery 113 years ago, the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics will travel to Sri Lanka from India’s National Museum situated in New Delhi. The first Exposition of Sacred Relics in Sri Lanka was in 1978.

The Relics were excavated by Alexander Cunningham, the first director of the Archaeological Survey of India, in the late 19th century from ruins in Piprahwa, in present day Bihar; Piprahwa was known as Kapilavastu in ancient Indian history.

Historical chronicles record that, after the Buddha’s “Parinibbana” (passing away), the holy Relics taken from the cremation site were divided into eight portions, and handed over to separate groups for preservation. According to “Mahaparinibbana Sutta”, penned in the fifth century BC, one portion of the Buddha’s bodily Relics was handed to the Sakyas of Kapilavastu. These came to be known as the Kapilavastu Relics.

India has taken a number of initiatives to jointly celebrate the 2600th anniversary of the Attainment of Enlightenment by Lord Buddha – Sambuddhatva Jayanti - with Sri Lanka, which, inter alia, include:

• Organization of an International Buddhist Conference in Kandy (March 2011), which was inaugurated by H.E. the President of Sri Lanka;

• Installation of a 16-foot high statue of Lord Buddha in the Sarnath style from Gupta period at the entrance of International Buddhist Museum in Sri Dalada Maligawa complex in Kandy(September 2011);

• Launch of a new Buddhist pilgrimage circuit train “Damba Diva Vandana” originating from Chennai and touching key Buddhist sites in the Northern India (from February 2012);

• Issuing gratis visas to Sri Lankan pilgrims;

• Organizing a recital “Nirvana – The Life of Gautam Buddha” and a photographic exhibition “Buddhism in India” during Vesak celebrations in May 2011; and

• Organization of a photographic exhibition “India through Sri Lankan Eyes” during ‘Deyata Kirula 2012’ of Buddhist pilgrimage sites captured by reputed Sri Lankan photographer.

The relationship between India and Sri Lanka is more than 2500 years old and is built upon a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic ties. Since Prince Arhat Mahinda's arrival in Anuradhapura in the 3rd century BC which heralded the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Buddhism continues to be a common thread binding India and Sri Lanka together.

The Exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka will reinforce the common cultural heritage shared between India and Sri Lanka and will further strengthen the multi-faceted relationship between India and Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

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